Tuesday, March 29, 2011


What started as a damp smell in the basement, turned in to obvious leaking. We finally found the source of the leak after two weeks of inspection, which included tearing up floors, punching holes in walls, more leaks, two plumbers and a minor flood.

We love being homeowners.

The most sinister of culprits was this corroded pipe underneath the sink in our bathroom:

Our guess is that water has been slowly seeping in to floors and walls for several months now, maybe even years.
Leaving a tasty amount of mold in its wake.

The past few days have been eventful, as hubby and our go-to maintenance/repair guy/friend, Jim, have searched high and low for water damage, and soiled many towels and pant legs cleaning up water spills and drips.

Raise your hand if you like being woken up at 3:30am by the sound of water pouring in to your basement?  Yeah, me either.

Thank God for homeowners insurance!

So, we put the toilet in the guest bathroom back on it's original post, and the floor is now covered by a flat cardboard box. We have new laminate on order, and it looks like we'll be replacing the sinks in both bathrooms.

Ours is still exposed:

Plumber #3 comes on Thursday.

Don't worry, the pink bathtub stays.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


We had a classic midwestern experience on Sunday.

Bruce and Patty invited us to join them for the annual pancake feed at the V.F.W. hall in Chatham. This event has been alive and well since 1939, and attracts folks from all over the area. Patty told us "they bus people in," and the proof was in the line out the door when we arrived.

The line is serious business. Several annual patrons told us they've waited for up to two hours before just to get a seat and enjoy the discounted all-you-can-eat fare.

We were amused by the scene, as we walked in to a room filled with middle America goodness. The people, the tables, the tablecloths, the smell of an old room and pancakes wafting through the air, the chatter of hungry patrons catching up on the local news, the sound of clinking silverware and the old cash register humming at the exit.

I was in small town heaven.

For $6.50 you get a starter plate of two buckwheat pancakes, two large sausage links, and your choice of coffee, tea or water. After you finish that serving, you can order more pancakes, but more sausage will cost you fifty cents. The ingredients are local, the maple syrup is the real deal and homemade. I gave one of my sausages away to make more room in my belly. I am proud to report that I had nine delicious cakes smothered in butter and syrup.

It was a good day for my taste buds.

The food was everything I'd hoped it would be, and so was the company. We attended the event with our friends the Salsgivers, Skylar and Rachel. But it was the couple Rachel and I sat next to that intrigued me the most.

One thing Chris and I have noticed about people we've met in Ohio, they don't do a lot of traveling. Sure, they take road trips to Pennsylvania and Chicago, and many of the older folks end up in Florida for the winter. But, flying around the country or overseas is not a typical conversation. That is, until we met Tim and Jan from Brunswick. They fell in love in wartime, as they both worked at a hospital during Viet Nam. She was a nurse, he was a military medic.

They will be married forty years next spring.

Tim and Jan have four children and ten grandchildren, and they have plans to spend their 40th wedding anniversary on an Alaskan cruise. The other places they've traveled to include: Vegas, Italy, France, Hawaii, and river rafting in Colorado.

What a lovely day, and an equally delicious tradition!

Sign me up for next year.

Friday, March 18, 2011

crocus watch

Our pastor's wife, Mary Jane, has a radar for spring.

This time of year, she announces that she is officially on 'crocus watch.' For me, it's like an early Easter egg hunt, as I put my senses on alert for the colorful perennials.

St. Patrick's Day was the first time I felt like spring could be near.

As much as I was enjoying the cold weather, we spent a few days in San Francisco with the Holowaty family last month and it felt like I was woken up. A breezy 65 degrees, long walks underneath the eucalyptus trees, staying outside past dark without freezing my face off, a new baby nephew to cuddle, an Argentine-style barbecue.. yeah, I'm ready for spring.

Like yesterday, today was bright and cheery. Not only did I see crocuses poking out in patches around our house, I saw the sky was clear and blue.  I couldn't resist a walk around our neighborhood. While listening to music on my iPod, I closed my eyes a few times and inhaled with intention. The temperature was perfect and the air smelled so fresh. The sun was shining, but the heat was at bay and there wasn't even a hint of humidity (something I dread about Ohio summers).

After my dose of vitamin D, I drove to an art gallery in Akron to view my friend, Joanna's, photography. Her work was included in an exhibit featuring local artists who live with Multiple Sclerosis. The gallery itself showcased an interesting variety of art mediums, including bronze sculptures and handmade jewelry. Seeing Joanna's work displayed was a thrill for me, and reading her bio (and the bios of the other artists living with MS) was inspiring.

Since I was only a few miles from my favorite little natural foods store, I stopped in for a sampling tour (hummus bar, cheeses, samples from the deli), gathered a few items for our pantry, walnuts and cashews from the bulk section, and a tasty salad from the deli for my lunch (balsamic roasted brussels sprouts, red cabbage, olive oil and pine nuts, with a hint of cayenne = yum!).  Across the way, I stopped in to World Market for coffee beans and tortilla chips, then drove back home with He is We playing on the stereo.

Later, we met Rachel for a sushi dinner, which was followed by watching our other friend, Chloe, perform in a musical tribute to the late Jacques Brel. The show itself was comical, adventurous, sarcastic and bizarre. I'd like to think that if I knew more about Brel and his world back then, I would appreciate his music more. Hard to say. Nonetheless, the production was entertaining and Chloe made us all proud.

It seems I started my day with plants and ended it with French satire.

If you add the darling duck couple I saw in the Giant Eagle parking lot, and the three squirrels playing in my backyard, you have the makings for a new season in Medina.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


© photo credit: cpr-savers.com

For the record, I can now save your life.

On Tuesday, Amanda and I spent a few hours at the Granger Fire Department being educated in CPR. For me, it was a long overdue refresher course. For Amanda, it was all new. As her mentor, I asked her to make a list of life goals last year, including anything new she wanted to learn.

CPR was on that list.

During this particular class, we were taught basic CPR and how to use an AED. Have you ever seen an AED unit? They really are something! Easy to use, and they practically do all the work for you. How did people survive cardiac arrest before AEDs?

You should probably know that compressions are now considered the most important part of this life-saving technique, and should be administered before checking the airway and giving breaths. Read about the change here and start practicing on your friends.

Just kidding, don't do that, but do get CPR-certified.

If you're a closet thespian, like I am, you will enjoy doing the safety scenarios. The test at the end was one of the only tests I've actually enjoyed taking because I got to act out all of the CPR steps, including making sure my scene was safe and calling for help.

I wonder if they hold auditions for CPR instructional videos.

Monday, March 14, 2011

warehouse 180

There's a new gig in town called Warehouse 180.

Like 707 and our Stone Cafe, it seeks to serve the college-age population in Medina and surrounding areas.

Last night we gathered a group of our young adults and joined the 60-some others at Medina Community Church for fellowship and this service that was led by Cedarville University's band, HeartSong.

Pastor Doug Davidson oversees Warehouse 180. He is passionate about seeing our young people connect with each other and God, and he is happy to meet you.

We continue to hope that all churches in NE Ohio will unite and seek to serve each other and the community at large. I think movements like Warehouse 180 are steering us in the right direction.

The pizza and sloppy joes help, too.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I used to be a serial dater.

For several reasons, I couldn't stand to be single.  To me, single equaled alone, and alone equaled lonely.  As much as I pursued independence, being single wasn't part of that equation.

Plus, I craved the attention.  Healthy, I know. 

When I was younger, I made a list of all the qualities I desired in the man I was going to marry.  I'm pretty sure the list was an assignment given to us by our Sunday School teacher. You know, to dream about then and be entertained by later.

Two of the items I remember writing down were:
1.) brown eyes
2.) musician

I find it strange that even with all those relationships, and all of the Seattle coffeehouses I hung out in back then, there were no musician boyfriends for me.  Clearly, God was saving the best for last: Christopher Danley, my blue-eyed troubadour.

One of the perks of being married to a musician is that we get to create music together.  My husband is an audio engineer by trade, which means he has produced dozens of albums over the years, including his own.  I have enjoyed being his back-up singer, and recording music with dear friends.

Singing with Chris is a true gift.

Tonight we sang together for a worship service at a new church plant about an hour away from us (in Aurora) called GateWay.  It's a small congregation at present, but the heart and enthusiasm and community are all there.  And the people are so nice.

Our band included me, Chris, Rachel, and our pastor and his wife. We all sang, Chris & Pastor Jeff played guitars, and MaryJane played her violin.  We didn't do any rehearsing until our sound check two hours before the service started, but it didn't matter.  We have all become close friends over the past year, and they have played together before.  Even though I was the new addition, we clicked.

The music was beautiful tonight and God was present.

Thank you, sweet Lord, for knowing me better than I know myself.

P.S. The blue eyes were a nice touch.

Friday, March 11, 2011

double feature

Hannah and Tori are two high school girls I have the privilege of knowing.  They are cute hipsters who tell detailed stories, feel deeply and laugh a lot.  The three of us have that kind of relationship where we can talk about heavy things one minute and giggle silly the next.  I quite like being a part of their lives.

Tonight they came over to our house for a double feature movie night.  While eating burrito bowls and quesadillas from Chipotle, we watched James Franco cut his arm off in 127 Hours, followed by the classic David & Goliath comedy, Dodgeball.

Franco deserved his Oscar nod, hands down.

Be sure to watch the Justin Long featurette on the Dodgeball DVD Extras. When you find it, you will want to play it a second time, guaranteed. Maybe even a third or fourth time (like we did), and then again in slow motion.  What you don't want to watch in slow motion is James Franco cutting his arm off.

Just saying.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

goodbye sugar

© photo credit: blisstree.com

No, not you. You can stay.

Sucrose, glucose, fructose, and corn syrup have to go.

Happy Ash Wednesday!

Are you giving up anything for Lent?

Monday, March 7, 2011


One of my favorite cakes to make is from this blog.

It's called Chocolate Stout Cake. And by 'stout' I mean beer.

Even if you're not a fan of porters, this cake marries the flavors of dark beer and chocolate in a way that might just make you a believer. If you're still not willing to bake a cake with booze in it, that's okay, just do me a favor and make a batch of the ganache frosting, will ya?

Dip something in it or just eat it with a big spoon.

You'll thank me later.

On Friday I had the privilege of filling up my counter like this:

In order to create this:

For this pretty face:

Don't you just love her smile?

Rachel has become so dear to me and Chris. We love sharing life with her and celebrating her 25 years on this earth. And baking her decadent desserts with Dutch-process cocoa powder, butter, sour cream, and a certain Irish stout named Guinness.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

epic road trip

This time last year we pulled in to Medina after a four day road trip across the country.

Has it really been a whole year since we packed up our house, loaded our rental truck, hitched our Honda to a trailer, and said goodbye to our loved ones?  Wow.

Some of the highlights from our trip included an early wake-up with the Guy family:

An overnight visit with the Drys and flying in Todd's helicopter:

Crossing all four timezones, and driving through almost every type of weather condition, including blinding fog:

Hours and hours alone with my man, and that one day our starter wouldn't start and we had to call the Penske repairman (who climbed under the hood and gave the starter a whack with his wrench - good as new!):

The Easter egg-colored sunrises, people-watching at local diners, and driving through Chicago (even with the traffic congestion, it was nice to see city lights again):

Being side-swiped on the freeway by a semi truck in Indiana (not a happy highlight, but certainly memorable), and driving in to Medina bleary-eyed and grateful to be in our new zipcode.  We arrived at 3am Ohio time, slept for a few hours at a Super 8 motel, and then met our moving crew, which, coincidentally, was made up of the young adult interns whom we now meet with twice a month (we were just reminiscing with them about this last night!).

Half of our belongings went to a new friend's basement and the other half went to our little 2-bedroom apartment in town.  Our dear friend, Erik, drove out from Tennesee to help us move in (and slept on our floor - what a guy)!

The following morning we had another crew from the church show up and they moved all of our boxes in 29 minutes flat.  And by 'moved,' I mean unloaded from the truck on the street, walked about a half a block to get inside the building, and then hiked up two flights of an old narrow staircase.

What a whirlwind experience the past year has been for us!  In some ways, it feels like we've been here for a dozen seasons, and in other ways, it still feels surreal.  Between the two of us, we've visited the west coast three times in the past twelve months and have become seasoned Skype users - we feel like we have the best of all of our worlds within reach.

In everything, we count our blessings and look forward to more adventures down the road.

Pun intended.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

police blotter: oh, behave

ASSAULT, DAWN COURT: In the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, a fight erupted between two men at a Dawn Court apartment. One of the men brought a girl back to the apartment complex, but found the same girl kissing his cousin later that evening. When the man confronted his cousin about kissing the girl, the cousin punched the other man multiple times in the face. The victim sustained a possible broken jaw and was transported to Medina Hospital. The suspect had a broken hand and was charged with assault as well as underage consumption of alcohol.

COMPLAINT, YOUNG AVENUE: It is not often that people complain about an overabundance of police attention in their neighborhood. However, on Thursday, a Young Avenue resident complained that she was tired of seeing police cars drive through her apartment complex. She felt they came through too much.

MYSTERY MEAT TRUCK, COUNTRYSIDE: A countryside Drive resident told police that a meat truck was driving through the neighborhood around 3:45p.m., June 29. Police responded but could not locate any such truck. On june 21, police shut down an operation in which a group of men were attempting to sell meat out of a truck without a solicitor's permit on Yorktown Drive.

ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR, E. WASHINGTON: Police advised a woman of the need to properly outfit her electric wheelchair with safety equipment and to stay on the sidewalk after she was spotted operating the equipment on E. Washington Street at 8:54p.m. on Sept. 22.

DRIVING SCHOOL RIVALS: Employees from two separate, rival driving school companies began arguing over the use of the Regal Cinema parking lot for the training of their student drivers. Police responded and spoke to both individuals around 4p.m., Oct. 19. The responding officer told both individuals they should act like adults.

DEFROST, S. COURT: A caller told police that a vehicle was weaving while driving along S. Court Street on Nov. 28. Around 7:26a.m., an officer responded, stopped the vehicle, and determined that the elderly male driver was having a difficult time seeing out of his windshield because it was still frosted over. The responding officer advised the man to thoroughly defrost his windshield before driving from now on.

BACTERIA: A Dawn Court resident called police because he was worried about bacteria that might be growing in the apartment.

DISTURBANCE, MADISON AVENUE: A woman was flashing people inside a bar Feb. 26, but a bartender said it was a man that was lifting up his shirt. He left prior to police's arrival.

COMPLAINT, HILLIARD BLVD: On Feb. 23, a woman called police because her 18-year old son sprayed her in the face with Febreeze. She declined medical attention and said she will start the eviction process.

COMPLAINT, MADISON AVENUE: A man was upset because the clerk at Walgreens would not allow him to return a hairbrush in an open package on Feb. 22. The man was advised and told not to return to the store.

SCREAMING, BRYNMAR: Police responded to a Brynmar Lane home after a report that a woman could be heard screaming inside the residence. An officer spoke with the woman, who said she was upset because she could not remember the passwords for her computer. No charges were filed.

HO HO BROUHAHA, BRANDYWINE: A 37-year old male and his 30-year old niece, who lived with their mother and grandmother, began arguing over a box of Ho Hos on Jan. 25. The homeowner became annoyed with the two adults and called police to the Brandywine Drive home. An officer responded around 10:55p.m. and told both offenders to start acting like adults.

CHURCH GROUP: A church group, who was raising money on Public Square to help Medina's homeless population, was warned twice on Jan. 22 to stay out of the roadway for safety purposes. Police advised the group at 8:05p.m. and 8:24p.m. to remain off the roads. Apparently, the group was a little excited about the effort.

SNOW MESSAGES, FALLING OAKS: A Falling Oaks resident told police on Feb. 5 that a juvenile neighbor continued to write derogatory messages in the snow of the man's yard. Police responded and spoke with the juvenile, advising him to cease.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE, W. REAGAN: What's an easy way to give yourself away while drinking and driving? Throw a beer can out your window. A 24-year old Medina man was driving erratically along W. Reagan Parkway on Jan. 10 when, according to another driver, he threw a beer can at the other driver's car. The other driver called police and an officer responded, stopped the suspect's vehicle and determined that the man had been drinking and driving. He was arrested and charged with OVI.

BANK CLOG, N. COURT STREET: A driver told police that another car was clogging the drive-through teller window at a N. Court Street bank on Dec. 20. The complainant's son confronted the male driver who was blocking the lane, and the man yelled back at the complainant and then drove off. Police filed a report.

SHOTGUN HOLE, W. UNION: A W. Union St. woman told police that she returned to her apartment on Dec. 19 to find a hole in her bedroom closet. Police responded and determined that the hole was likely caused by a shotgun blast from a neighboring apartment. An officer spoke with the next-door neighbor and subsequently arrested the 49-year old man for possessing weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony. The man is being held at the Medina County Jail.

HAVE SHOVEL - NOT, WALTER ROAD: Police received report of a man going door-to-door looking for snow shoveling jobs Dec. 14 on Walter Road. A resident thought the man was suspicious because he was not carrying a shovel with him when he asked to shovel snow. An officer arrived on the scene around 1p.m., identified the man and warned him of the complaint.

SEXUAL IMPOSITION, MEDINA ROAD: A woman came to the station to complain about a customer who had slapped her backside inappropriately Nov. 18. The woman, who works at a Medina Road salon, said the man slapped her hard on the rear after his appointment was complete. She said the man was known to have made inappropriate remarks in the past. When police contacted the individual, the man said he had threatening calls from the woman's boyfriend. Neither of the parties pressed charges, but the individual is not allowed to return to the salon.

LAUNDRY, N. COURT: A woman called police after her clothing became stuck in a washer at a N. Court St. location on Nov. 19. Police responded after 5p.m., but the woman was able to release the clothing before an officer arrived.

Welcome to Ohio.